Clearing the Path

Addressing Equity Blockers to Work-Based Learning in the New Skills Ready Network

An important component of high-quality career pathways is work-based learning, which includes opportunities ranging from career awareness and exploration to internships and apprenticeships. Research has shown that students who participate in work-based learning experiences have greater academic success and stronger employment outcomes than those who do not. Yet research also indicates that there is more work to be done to provide equitable access to opportunities.

To identify and understand the equity blockers to internships and youth apprenticeships, Education Strategy Group conducted a cross-site analysis to collect and share findings from the six communities within the New Skills Ready Network (NSRN), which are generalizable to communities at large. We found that developing and offering equitable work-based experiences was a focus area for each community, and that all are actively working to learn from other NSRN sites and the field. Our analysis was shared with leaders in each city to inform future investments and next steps in policy and implementation. To gather information, we interviewed leaders of work-based learning programs at both the K-12 and community college levels within each NSRN community with a focus on three research questions:

  1. What are the personal or individual circumstances that influence or limit a student’s decision to participate in capstone work-based learning programs?
  2. How are institutions addressing issues of equity to expand access to work-based learning?
  3. What are barriers institutions face in providing equitable and meaningful work-based learning opportunities for students?

This new report examines learnings from across all six New Skills communities about ways that leaders can identify and effectively address equity blockers to work-based learning opportunities, opening doors to meaningful experiences for all students. 

Resource downloads

Clearing the Path: Addressing Equity Blockers to Work-Based Learning in the New Skills Ready Network